This has been quite a week for The Arc and we have a full agenda next
week as well!
Are you aware that the state is looking at another $4 billion hole in the state
budget as of January, 2015? That is the date that the temporary income tax
expires. This is the most important issue for disability services. In my opinion,
without the continuation of the income tax increase the entire state will be
devastated. What is your State Senator and Representative saying about
continuing the income tax increase?
As I see it our legislative priorities for the next legislative session will be:
1. Supporting the continuation of the state income tax increase
2. Rebalancing the Disability System including
a. Supporting the Governor’s Rebalancing Initiative
b. Supporting the Implementation of Ligas
c. Increasing Direct Support Professional Wages
3. Opposing Integrated Care Phase III
4. Supporting Implementation of the Affordable Care Act
5. Supporting a New Home & Community Based Adult Waiver
The Arc’s Public Policy Committee will be meeting soon to discuss our legislative
priorities and possible new legislation. Thanks so much for so many recommendations
on possible disability legislation.
Another 500 individuals have been selected to move off the PUNS Waiting List!
Individuals should be getting their letter soon and then start the process of
selecting services/supports. Remember, having been selected, you are a Ligas
Class member. As a Class Member, you should not be limited in your choice of
services/supports. Should you have questions about service/support options,
please connect with The Arc of Illinois.
Director Casey is going to put a hold on the implementation of the new
reimbursement methodology. The Division will continue to use the methodology used
in past years during this time frame. He is also establishing a work group to take a
comprehensive look at training requirements, reimbursement methodology, etc.
Many of you discussed this at the Executive Forum.
The Health Facilities Planning & Services Board will hold a public hearing on the
closing of the Murray Developmental Center on October 9th beginning at 4:00 p.m.,
at Centralia City Hall, 222 South Poplar, Centralia, IL 62801. Sign-in for this hearing
will be conducted from 3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
We encourage you attend this public hearing to show support for closing state
institutions in Illinois and Governor Quinn’s Rebalancing Initiative. If you cannot attend,
there are two things you can still do:
1. Sign our Going Home Petition.
2. Send a letter supporting the closure of Murray Developmental to:
Mike Constantino, Supervisor, Project Review Section
Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board
525 West Jefferson Street (2nd Floor)
Springfield, Illinois 62761
I have been spending a lot of time working on the Northeastern Illinois Public Transit
Task Force after being appointed by Governor Quinn. Public transportation and
Paratransit Services are vital lifelines for people with disabilities to be a part of their
community. I have many years of experience working with PACE to increase transportation
options for people, and I bring this experience to this Task Force now known as NEIL.
Last night we held our first public hearing in Chicago. The CEO’s of the RTA, Metra,
CTA and PACE presented testimony on needs and the future of public transportation.
It was a fascinating experience. The Task Force is Co-Chaired by Secretary of the
Dept of Transportation Ann Schneider and George Ranney, CEO, Metropolis Strategies.
George is known as the father of the Regional Transportation Authority or RTA.
Former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald is also a member of the Task Force heading
up the Ethics Work Group. I am a member of the Operations Work Group. Other Work
Groups include Governance and Finance.
Here is a story from the Chicago Tribune on Wednesday night’s hearing:
Future of transit funding explored
Area’s agencies need overhaul, officials told
By Richard Wronski Tribune reporter
Leaders of the Chicago area’s mass transit agencies on Wednesday urged members of a state task force to overhaul the way public transportation is funded, saying there’s not enough money to keep the current system working reliably and safely and to add new service.
The task force also ought to consider consolidating the CTA, Metra, Pace and the Regional Transportation Authority into a unified superagency like some other big cities, the head of the RTA recommended.
“There is no service board that couldn’t use twice the current level of funding,” said John Gates Jr., the RTA’s chairman.Gov. Pat Quinn appointed the 15-member task force to recommend ways to reform the Chicago area’s mass transit — an effort that includes finding the best people to run the troubled system and end years of turf wars.
The public hearing, at the Thompson Center, was intended for the transit agencies to assess their performance and provide recommendations for creating a “world-class” transportation system in Chicago.
Gates echoed a common refrain from the transit leaders: There is a critical need for about $31 billion over the next 10 years to keep the region’s buses and trains operating properly but nowhere near that amount of money coming from the state and federal governments.
The current funding system relies mainly on sales tax revenue from the six-county region to pay for mass transit, with fares accounting for less than half of operating costs, officials said.
The task force did not hear any specific proposals from the agencies for changing the way mass transit is funded, however. A working group of panelists is looking into the area of funding, while others weigh changes in governance and ethics.
The panel was asked to find ways to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse at the CTA, Metra and Pace, as well as the RTA. The mandate also included finding ways to streamline overall system operations.
Gates also reiterated a litany of previously announced recommendations to improve the RTA’s oversight power. He pointed to regional transportation authorities in New York and Philadelphia as possible models for a super-agency in Chicago.
Quinn appointed the panel after weeks of controversy over the $871,000 severance package awarded to Metra CEO Alex Clifford, who raised allegations of political interference at the agency.
The panel includes Patrick Fitzgerald, a former U.S. attorney in Chicago.
Gates said that under current law, the RTA could do little other than perform an investigative audit of the causes of the Metra controversy.
He said the RTA needed the power to veto line items in the transit agencies’ budgets.
CTA President Forrest Clay-pool touted the agency’s efforts to put itself on sounder financial ground during the past two years, saying it has wiped out a $308 million deficit without service cuts or an across-the-board fare hike.
“The ‘doomsday’ budgets of the past are gone,” Claypool said.
He also cited the customer service progress made with the new Ventra fare-payment system.
The current transit funding model is unsustainable over the long term because it does not provide enough money to keep equipment and infrastructure in good condition, as well as pay for additional service, Metra board member Norm Carlson said.
Members face an Oct. 18 deadline for an interim report that would be submitted to the General Assembly.firstname.lastname@example.org
Tony Paulauski Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423